Primary schools have pupils at seven broad year stages, Primary 1 to Primary 7. A year stage is defined as a group of pupils entering primary education at a common date.
Composite classes are those where children of more than one year stage are grouped together to form a class.
Why are composite classes formed?
Schools are staffed to agreed standards based on the total number of pupils within the school regardless of the numbers of pupils at each year stage. This means that head teachers are required to take management decisions to organise classes to make best use of available staff, resource and space. Balancing up the various factors involves both educational and organisational considerations.
How are composite classes formed?
According to the teacher's contract the maximum number of pupils in any composite class is 25.
The head teacher will structure classes based on advice given by the education authority .In South Ayrshire composite classes are formed, where possible, taking into account children who are broadly working at the same pace - particularly in mathematics/numeracy and/or language/literacy. By using information about how pupils are progressing to inform groupings for composite classes, no child is being disadvantaged by being "kept back" or "pushed on".
When will a composite class be formed?
Normally such classes will be formed before the start of a new school year so that all involved know what class structures exist for the new school session.
In certain circumstances class restructuring may have to take place during the summer break or after a school session has started. However such cases will be very exceptional.
Consultation with Parents
Parents will be kept informed of the arrangements for annual class structuring.
If you are concerned about decisions being made, your child's head teacher will be happy to meet with you to answer any questions regarding class formation and how it might affect your child. You might like to consider asking.
- why classes have been formed;
- about your child's progress;
- about the experience your child will follow.
Your child in a composite class
Some children are never part of a composite class whilst others, particularly in rural schools, never experience anything else. You should be confident that the professionalism of the staff in your school will ensure that your child will always work within a programme appropriate for his/her age, ability and aptitude. At both school level and education authority level quality control procedures exist to ensure that your child is making good progress within Curriculum for Excellence.
Curriculum for Excellence has been introduced to raise standards of learning and teaching and help improve children's life chances, equipping young people to meet the challenges of the modern world and apply their skills to whatever lies ahead.
Children in all classes will move through experiences and achieve outcomes at their own pace. This applies to all pupils regardless of whether or not they are in a composite or single year stage class.
Although the school will try to ensure that the natural identity of each primary class group is maintained, teachers will create opportunities to involve pupils of an age year group in activities which bring the whole year group together. In this way pupils will be able to continue to identify with children of the same age especially at important time such as transition to secondary school.